Grown-Up Luxe, with a Sly Free-Spirit Bohemian Bent (Part II)


It's done! I'm so excited by this one – the color, pattern and texture overload makes me sing. 

The overall goal of this makeover was to bump up the personality in Andrew and Darby's already incredible home. I mean, look at those details. The original woodwork, double french doors, and built in window seat are just so perfect. All I wanted to do was amplify those features and make the room more closely reflect Darby's vibrancy.      


The other major concern was the room's lighting. As you can tell from the unedited iPhone before photos the room didn't get a ton of natural light. The main windows in the room, despite being southern-facing, were shielded by a front porch overhang. The three small windows near the entry were shadowed by their close proximity to the neighbor's house.

It's not dark anymore!


Ok, yes, these after photos are professional photoshoot photos, but really, the new wall color is the real game changer. And, it's not white! 

The original paint color in the room was an off white with subtle yellow undertones. I wanted a lighter paint to help brighten the space, but thanks to this post knew white wasn't the best option for a room without great natural light. Instead I looked for light greys that veered warm rather than cool and closer to white than ivory. After narrowing it down to these four, I chose Valspar's Possibility and I love the outcome.


I wrote about the wallpaper decision-making process in the previous post and now I'm just going to gush over how in love with it I am. I'm so into the way the abstract knots in the wallpaper relate to the organic circular shapes in the rug. It's neutral, but interesting, detailed, but not busy. Seriously, I'm thrilled. 


I also tweaked the furniture layout slightly. In the bottom right before photo you can see there was a lot of unused space between the seating area and french doors. By swapping the sofa and chair placement I was able to add in a sofa table and create a vignette featuring Darby's existing killer pair of MCM lamps behind. 


Now, when entering through the front door, instead of walking into the side of a sofa you're greeted by these smaller scale charmers:


And this guy:


Actually, this moment with the chairs, moroccan tray table, wicker planter and insane vintage floor lamp is totally my favorite; and, it happened on a whim. The week before installation day I came by for one final walk thru and to drop off the vintage leather safari swing chair I'd intended to use. After scoring it at an estate sale I'd been storing it in my living room until I could get it to Darby's. Unfortunately, once in place I realized it was not going to work. In my house as a side chair next to my sofa it was fine. Here, in a more formal seating arrangement across from the sofa, it was laughably low – like an adult awkwardly sitting in a child's chair low.

Luckily, before there was even time to panic, Darby suggested trying the two matching Ikea chairs she had in her sun room. They were currently covered in an apple green fabric that had seen better days, but she thought Ikea might still carry the slip covers. Darby for the win! The Mellby slip covers were still available and arrived via WeDeliverOmaha the day before this photo shoot!     


I'm pretty sure having a built in window nook is the epitome of, like, every adult's childhood fantasy. I mean, they're totally made for cozy naps, juicy novels, and twirling your hair round your finger whilst playing it cool when talking to Bobby Tomlinson on the cordless, right? 

To play up that fantasy I draped Mexican serape blankets as slip covers and, using textiles in varying, but coordinating prints/colors/fabrics, made most of the throw pillows pictured to fill the bench seat. 


This was such a fun and rewarding project – a great home, with an inspiring homeowner. 

And because transformations are addictive, here's this:



* Thank you Bethany Gilbert for the incredible AFTER photos!

Grown-Up Luxe, with a Sly Free-Spirit Bohemian Bent

My friend Darby: 

She's a smart, witty writer, doting wife, mother of two boys, hostess with the most-est, and the ultimate pixie-cut cool-girl. After months of casually keeping one eye open for a new and better house, she and her husband Andrew decided to stop the search and instead re-fall in love with their current home. Once they'd committed to stay she decided it was time to make their charming craftsman finally reflect that aforementioned dynamic personality. This is where I joined the party. 


One of my favorite parts in a client decorating project is the first meeting. You sit down, start talking, but mostly you dream. It's typically a very scattered conversation wherein inspiration is thrown about, haphazard and pure. Words - often unattached to traditional sentence structure - flow freely, pictures fly between iPhones, and artists are referenced. A vision takes shape. During my particular conversation with Darby her affinity for southwestern art, interesting textiles, Alfred Stieglitz and his photos of Georgia O'Keeffe, bits of glamour, but still the slightest hint of the macabre, all helped a theme emerge: Grown-Up Luxe, with a Sly Free-Spirit Bohemian Bent. 

This was my initial mood board:


In hindsight, wow, that was pretty feminine. Darby loved it, but the Graham and Brown Kensington Floral Wallpaper was an understandably definitive "No" from Andrew. I'd chosen it for its large impact pattern, yet still neutral palate. Luckily wallpaper is cool again; and, the current resurgence of crazy/sexy/cool wallpaper companies made finding other suitable options a breeze. We narrowed it down to a couple of Hygge and West papers, eventually settling on Knots (which has the added benefit of not having already been used in a million rooms on Pinterest).

For the area rug my plan was to score a beautiful vintage Turkish Kilim. It didn't have to be pink, but definitely in the warm color family. Unfortunately, finding a beautiful affordable 8x10 vintage rug is near impossible. I found a few options on eBay, but none of them were quite right. I briefly pursued the idea of layering a smaller rug on top of a larger sisal or jute rug, but it just felt like a lot of work for not a lot of impact. So RugsUSA it was. I sent Darby and Andrew a couple of options and they chose the Tuscan rug in Raspberry. 


Now that the rug and wallpaper were selected, the last remaining large ticket item to secure was the sofa. From the beginning I really loved the idea of a teal sofa for their room and it did stay in play for a long time. Unfortunately, even though Andrew and Darby both liked the West Elm Peggy Mid-Century Sofa from the mood board, the 8-10 week lead time coupled with the extensive additional fees for delivery and the ever ubiquitous/mysterious "handling" charges kept it from being the most viable choice. In the end, they chose to pursue a local option and selected this charmer.

Those are the plans. And now it's time for the fun part: putting it all together! Darby's been mad at work painting and wallpapering while I've been collecting all the quirky art, accessories, and southwestern textiles to my heart's content. We're getting close!